October 31, 2013

"Blue Dog"

 Oil on museum quality Ampersand Gessobord panel
   8" x 8"

The SPCA is packed with pit bull terriers. Not because they are bad dogs, but because the breed has been deemed "dangerous" by the Maryland State legislators.  Oh, wait...I think I was recently on this soapbox. 
I had a hard time thinking of a name for this painting.  Sadly, I hadn't noted this pup's name when I was there but his soulful eyes speak volumes.  I'm sure he is wondering, "Where am I?  What's happening?  Where are mom and dad?"  Poor boy.  I call it "Blue Dog" because he is sad and blue.  He brought to mind a brown version of George Rodrigue's Blue Dog paintings:
 In the end, his expressive eyes named the piece for me.  If you're not familiar with the story of the Blue Dog, he's on a quest to get back to his owner.  This pit was on a quest to find his perfect family -- one I hope he's achieved.

October 17, 2013

"La Chien-Fleur"

"La Chien Fleur"   8" x 8"   Oil on Panel    2013

 While painting this pooch wearing an Elizabethan collar, I was reminded of two iconic images.  One was of Marilyn Monroe with her skirt blowing up from the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch.

The other was Picasso's painting of his lover, Fran├žoise Gilot portrayed as a flower in La Femme-Fleur.

October 11, 2013

Friday flashback - "Connoisseur"

"Connoisseur"  40" x 60"  Oil on canvas  1985

Today's flashback is an early painting from my late eighties "Confetti" series.   I was fascinated by fashion in my formative years and had aspirations of becoming a fashion illustrator.  This collection of collage-like images, all 40" x 60",  flirted with neo-pop and appropriationism.  I learned a lot about the portrayal of luscious fabrics, exotic animal skins, rhinestones and beautiful women from this experience.  I also learned that I hate lettering!  If there is a hell, I'm sure it has a spot in its calligraphy department waiting for me.

October 7, 2013

"Scared Puppy"

"Scared Puppy"  6" x 8"  Oil on panel  2013

Last week I started a series of paintings dealing with the sad plight of animals in need of a loving home.   There are scores of blogs and rescue group sites out here in cyberspace that could state their cases more eloquently, so I won't go into a long verbal diatribe about the thoughtless idiots who surrender their pets with lame excuses like, "My girlfriend didn't like him," or "He got too big," or "We moved and can't take her."  Don't get me started with the poor pit-bulls, which are turning up in shelters in alarming numbers because the good folks in Annapolis have deemed the breed too dangerous to own.  Landlords are forcing pit-bull owners in Maryland to give up their dogs or move because they are afraid of litigation. Not too long ago it was Dobermans, then it was German Shepherds.  My daughter had a pit-bull named Ginger and she was the sweetest dog ever.  I never lost a minute's sleep fearing for the safely of my two young granddaughters.  Indeed, I felt much safer knowing Ginger was there to protect them.  This little guy at the SPCA seemed reluctant to pose.

October 1, 2013

Today's Tuesday Tip - "Beautiful Things"

Have you noticed how cheaply things are made these days?  We had an impromptu cherry pie party last week and I bought some red glass Christmas ornaments to fill pie plates as part of the centerpieces. At least that is what I thought I bought.  When I spilled them into the plates, they made an odd sound. They just felt wrong.  On closer inspection I first noticed the seam, then the paint on some of them was sort of wrinkled. Gasp,  they were made of plastic!!   Has it come to this?!  Of course they were made in China, as so much is these days, but I paid as much as I used to pay for the hand blown ones from Germany.  Are our children and grandchildren never going to know the joy of quality craftsmanship?  Alas, I fear it may be so.  Not too long ago, I ordered a gross of faceted purple, green and gold Mardi Gras beads from a company I have dealt with for years; the Mardi Gras Annex. The difference in what was delivered this time and the beads I had ordered just 10 years ago was startling.  The paint was thin and poorly applied and the beads were badly formed.  It is this way with everything!  I challenge you to find a new quality potato peeler, can opener or spatula.  It is impossible.

All that said, I try to surround myself  with things that are not only functional but beautiful and well made.  A case in point:  I have a wonderful clip on my easel to hold my reference photos.  I could have nailed a wooden clothespin on it to serve the same purpose but this beautiful brass clip, from the Kaltenbach and Stephens Manufacturing Company, reminds me that quality and beauty will endure when the disposable crap around us is long gone.